Moving ahead two weeks from ‘End of the Road’ we open with Torchwood, well Torchwood haven’t actually been doing very much. Gwen has taken to robbing chemists and Jack has been recuperating in Scotland.
The most productive character has been Rex, and all of his efforts have been hampered by the mole with the CIA, Charlotte. With Oswald Danes bargaining for his life in Swansea the only character doing well is Jilly, who gets a face to face meeting with the Family.
‘The Gathering’ is really about the main characters all coming together. It seems strange that it is only now, in the 9th episode of the series, that Oswald is part of the group, albeit grudgingly.
Last episode I noted how the involvement of the CIA was the way the show should have been and here too I think most people expected Oswald to have closer links with the team for the majority of the series.
There were several promising moments during this episode. The investigation of the CIA, although mostly exposition, was clever, particularly the introduction of a bloody knife from a cold case being the key to identifying members of the Family.
Here the CIA demonstrates why they have gained their reputation, pooling their vast resources and the intelligence of their agents to locate the one thing a huge conspiracy has over looked.
A shame then that this particular plot line is wasted when Charlotte sabotaged their efforts. I half expected this to be a trap, that Rex had fabricated the evidence just to see if Charlotte would take the bait and expose herself. Unfortunately Rex still seems unaware of her obvious duplicity.
It must be said, however, how much more comfortable Rex seems as part of the CIA. We were first introduced to him while he was the on the road, shortly before his accident. Since then he’d been on the run.
Here we see how he makes use of the people under him and makes institutive leaps. His scenes with Allen Shapiro shows how comfortable they are with each other, a professional relationship that has been built up over years.
Rex is a far cry from the angry half-dead man who dragged our heroes from their homes at gun point. You can actually start to like him, rather than seeing him as an antagonist. Rex should have been part of the CIA from the start.
The events in Wales are a mixed bag. In another indication that there was little attempt to achieve consistency amongst the writers Gwen and Rhys are happily living in Swansea, showing none of the caution they showed in the first episode.
The subplot about people trying to find and kill them seems to have been completely forgotten. Now they are happy to have people watching their house and giving their name to the authorities.
Gwen’s opening ram raid of a chemists leaves a bad taste. Are we supposed to approve of her actions in light of the heavy handed way the authorities are treating Category 1’s? If so then it fails as Gwen not only threatens to shoot a pensioner but is also selling the stolen goods to her neighbours.
Continuing with the allusions to the Holocaust we have government officials sniffing out those who should be dead. With the economy collapsing it is surprising that the government has money to fund these searches, in addition to running the camps.
I’m sure we are supposed to feel sympathy for Gwen but when her father is in obvious pain it actually seems crueller to keep him alive when incineration would give him release. The mature thing to do would be to let him go.
Oswald’s involvement with the group is tenuous at best. He only met Jack before so has little reason to seek them out, let alone the resources. Like the series he promises much but provides little, just Jilly’s computer.
It is worth it to see him interact with Rhys. The most realistic of all the characters Rhys relishes the prospect of inflicting some bodily harm to the vile criminal. The fact that this forces Gwen to agree to have Oswald tag alone doesn’t quite work. He had already given them everything they need and would she really have a problem with his death, given everything she had done?
The video clips on Jilly’s computer and the revelation that she was concealing the truth was interesting but doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. We’ve never seen Jilly do any of this, or had any indication that she knew anything about what was happening. This new clue just didn’t seem like it was earned.
Similarly the tunnel through the Earth being hinted at in the Phicorp symbol doesn’t make sense. In ‘The Middle Men’ we were told that the company weren’t behind Miracle Day, just taking advantage of it. Why would they have a clue to the Family’s secret tunnel hidden in their logo? Why even have a secret clue?
Speaking of which the reveal of the Blessing was a major disappointment. After being told that those who view it can be driven to suicide it was a shame that it turned out to just be a crack in the ground.
Jilly’s meeting with a member of the Family, and the background information he provides, raises more questions about the structure of this series. We are told that the three families went into business, politics and the media.
Shouldn’t these areas receive some focus within the series? Wouldn’t it have been better to have a story line focus on each area and then reveal that characters in each area were members of the Family all along? Wouldn’t this have better highlighted their influence.
As it is the series made a point on several occasions to say that the government were remaining silent on the crisis, until the camps were announced. Other than the repeated shots of new readers we didn’t see any of the behind the scenes at the media outlets.
It also seems very late in the stage to put any emphasis on Captain Jack’s blood. Even Jack keeps dismissing any thoughts that his blood could be used to create miracle day, as that isn’t what gave him his immortality.
This episode was obviously well written, with some effective scenes but the plot, and the series at large, continue to be very poor. Will all our questions be answered in the final episode?
I hope so because I don’t think I could sit through another series.